Friday, April 15, 2011

A New Vision - Part 2

Part One is here.

Curtis and I began to weigh the pros and cons of being called to an existing church versus planting a new church. I felt that by God's grace we could be happy and thrive at either type of church. But Curtis said, "If we're going to plant a church, I need to wake up first thing in the morning and say, 'If I don't plant a church, I'll die!'" Now that is severe. He obviously wasn't there yet. His point was that church planting would be really hard and he needed to have a lot of passion for it first.

When I would drive around town, I would see different church buildings and say, "Lord, what about that one? Do they need a pastor? Lord, surely there is a church somewhere in Houston where we could serve." Curtis could sense me clinging to our city, so of course he started swinging in the opposite direction.

In September I had the privilege of going on a Compassion blogger trip to Guatemala. One of my favorite things about the trip was getting to see how Compassion works through the local church. I was really moved by the pastors and their families and the way God was using them in their neighborhoods. They were a force to be reckoned with, even in the face of very real threats of violence from gangs. These little churches were powerful refuges of hope in desperately poor communities.

It was when we were visiting this particular church that I got a deep sense in my heart of what Jesus had for us in our near future.

This is the pastor and his wife and in the middle is one of their fiery, tenacious leaders.


This is the sword of the Spirit.


This is how they taught the children Bible verses so that they would take their stand against the enemy's schemes, particularly when the gangs came calling for them to join.


The children learned their verses quickly.




I bonded with this little girl and came to found out she was the PK.


I can't explain how this all connects, but the Holy Spirit was working in me. I remember this place so vividly. All I can say is that the Lord used it to impress His direction on my heart.

Practically on the way home from the airport I told Curtis, "I think we're going plant a church. We have a lot of work to do and we need to get busy!"

Part Three to come...

47 comments:

Jen said...

Well, this is all just so very exciting :)

brandiandboys said...

and you leave us hanging again! ;) so excited for your guys!!

Dionna said...

Part three? You're killing me. :) Our family is going to Guatemala in June. Taking the 12 and 14 yr old along. Excited but of course always nervous before we leave too.

Lindsey Nobles said...

Funny to have been there with you and have not known that was such a catalyst for you! Love you and Curtis' willingness to be used.

Angie said...

Ok, now you're just being mean ;)
Looking forward to part 3. . although, why do I think it leaves your Momma in tears??

Amanda said...

Sorry, y'all! It would've been at least another day before I could write the whole thing. Angie, don't worry. My mama is not crying.

tiggerdaisy said...

Ahhh...the suspense! This is what your journalism major was for, Amanda! This right here! hahahah :)

Prayers and blessings to you as I look forward to Part Three!

Rebecca

Carrie Beth said...

Amanda -
I hope we see part three soon. There is such a tremendous awakening going on in the community where we serve. People are so focused on missions and kingdom work and spreading the gospel more than I have EVER seen in my life.
Your decisions are just another affirmation of all that God is doing to reignite his people for him!

bethany said...

This is very exciting! I can't wait to read of where God is leading your family :)
Praying for you, Curtis and the kids as you venture out!

Marc and Charity said...

Loving your story...

His Jules said...

Are you kidding me?? Come on Amanda you are killing me - this is all so exciting!! Praying for the Jones family in this exciting new adventure!

Emi said...

How exciting! I teach Girls in Action at my church. Last month we taught about church plants in Toronto. The girls were given flower plants to pray for church plants each time they water it. How exciting that we are praying for yours possibly:)

Jennifer said...

You've got my full attention...waiting for part three....

Paige said...

AHHHH!!!!! I am so excited. I screamed NO at the end because I wanted to know more!!!!!!!!

:)
paige

CAROL LIVIN FOR GOD said...

Come on now the suspense is killing me and I am praying for you all. This is exciting. Can't wait for part 3
Carol

Kristin said...

This is so exciting, I am hanging on every word!! Hurry and post Part 3!!!!

Sallie Belle said...

Are you going to give Karen Kingsbury, Francine Rivers, etc a run for their money? The suspense...

Does your Mama take heart medicine? Does she need it after this?

Wonder Woman said...

God gets us around to where we need to be doesn't he!

Can't wait to see what he has for you!

Tracy

From the Bumpy Road said...

Can't wait to hear what God has in store for your family. You are a blessing to me :)

Stephen said...

Tears in my eyes. Overwhelmed at how God continues to use these trips to get people away from the noise of their lives to hear His still, small voice. There is something powerful in an encounter with the poor. When we spend time with "the least of these" we are really spending time with Him.

Allison said...

Seriously girl...is it like "sweeps month" in bloggerville? Are you spreading this out to generate traffic on Baby Bangs so you can attract some cool new adverstisers? ;) Looking forward to part 3.

California Dreamin said...

I can wait for part 3, but please no part 4!!! I'm dying to know!!! This is what makes a good page turning novel. Blessings to your family. :)

Tabaitha Kaye said...

Can't wait to read part 3!

Barbie @ Mamaology said...

I'm sooo excited:). My husband and I just planted a church this past fall (Sept 2010):). Can't wait to hear what the Lord has for you!

Praying for you right now!

Ashley said...

This little saga is so suspenseful! It is so fun when you've got all these pieces and then God begins putting them together into something you wouldn't have asked for or imagined on your own. Seems like there's a verse about that somewhere ;)

Deanna said...

Can't wait to hear more! :) Praying for your precious family, wherever God is leading you.

Tara G. said...

Several years ago I noted every instance "joy" was used in the Bible. I was unable to finish (overseas move/new baby/deployment). Just this week I began again, working my way through the New Testament this time. As I did a word study on "rejoice," I got so excited over the list of things Vine's said were "grounds and occasions" for believers to rejoice- among those was the reason "when other believers rejoice"...so I am glad in heart with you! Looking forward to the next part of your testimony!

Ashley said...

Sooo excited to hear the next part! Praying for you guys!!!

Shellie Paparazzo said...

Seriously, girl! You're Kiiiiiiiilllllling me! I'm serious! I think I'm having heart palpitations! Are you going to Guatemala or what? Or where? I may never sleep again, if you don't tell me! And please! Right after Melissa got to move back! Oh, please! Okay, I need to calm down...but please tell us, please!!!!!

Missy said...

Love.
Love this.
Love your heart.
Love your vision.
Love the end of the story!

Kasey Ewing said...

Your killing me?!! I am so excited for y'all!

Shelley said...

Obviously you don't know me - but I do stop by here once in a while b/c I enjoy your 'down-to-earth-ness'. I wish we did know each other though and sit and have tea because my husband and I have just started a church plant in down-town Niagara Falls Canada. What started out as a Sunday night Bible study last November became a Sunday morning church service as of last Sunday morning.
I feel somewhat overwhelmed with it all but also very excited. There are many great churches in Niagara Falls but there isn't one located in the down town core where many of the issues tend to be so we are very excited at the prospects of ministry there - on the same hand though we feel a little incapable of fulfilling this call - but it has the be the Lord and nothing else. The one thing that we did do in January as people started to ask us about a church plant was to start a mid-week prayer meeting to seek the Lord - I tell you Amanda - any blessing that has come our way is because of this prayer meeting - I could list all the answers to prayer we have had that would make you want to stand up and shout Glory - but I don't want to take up too much space here. So please know that I will be praying for you - I know the steps that you are walking through. And if we should ever come to mind would you please pray for On The Rock Community Church - this Sunday will be our 2nd Sunday morning service.

Many blessings on you Curt & the Kids,
Shelley

Fran said...

I'm hanging on the edge of my seat Amanda!! I'm so excited to read every bit of this story!

Barbara Head said...

Please, please, please plant a church in the Northwest corner of Harris County near Tomball!!! I am praying for God to move!!

Tracy: said...

I can barely read this without crying and my heart beating out of my chest..strange, I know! BUT my husband and I are in a unique transition in ministry right now and praying about our next step, church plant, another church or wait!?? Thanks for sharing and so excited for you guys and excited that you are sharing a bit of it with us!! BLESSINGS

Kendra said...

aghhhh! Leaving us hanging once is one thing, but twice...now that's just wrong! ;) I'm excited to hear where He is leading you guys to serve Him :)

Kathy Cheek said...

This is such an exciting testimony to God working in your lives, and learning that He often makes us wait for the clear answers and directions is the best teacher of patience I know!

We are newly in a church that started out as a church plant and now is an established church in the Wylie, TX area, a rapidly growing area that is seeing many new churches pop up in schools and other places of business.

Like everyone else, I look forward to the rest of your story!

Pineapple Princess said...

I can't wait for part three! Hurry!!

JottinMama said...

This encourages me.

My husband and I are feeling the call to ministry. Maybe missions. Maybe church-planting. Maybe both. And it really helps me to know that there is another Mama out there - daring to step out in faith...daring to go out of her comfort zone...resolving to live for Him. Thanks so much. As I pray for our new endeavors - I'll pray for yours too. May He bless you and reveal Himself to you as you seek Him.

Blessings,
Kate :)

Corrie Cline said...

Come to Friendswood, TX!! :)

Heather said...

AAAHHHH!!!! TELL US NOW!!!!! :)

Amy Beth @ Ministry So Fabulous! said...

FOR THE LOVE, TENNESSEE.

Joybird said...

Oh Amanda, after all that wait, I can't wait to watch you go, go, go.

BethPAtl said...

You are SO not making it easy to read the last page first and then go to the beginning! Very excited to read what's next!

Mari Bryant- Marks said...

Oh for goodness sake. Again? Really? Can't wait for part 3. :)

Shelli Littleton said...

I have goose bumps! You are brave; and why am I scared for you and excited all at the same time? I can only imagine how you must be feeling. It sounds like you are wanting to "take back your faith from the American dream" and I applaud you! I applaud Jesus!

Marla Taviano said...

Rock on, girl! We did an outreach today with our new church plant after the service, and it was soooo awesome. I love what God has called us to, and I'm SO excited for you and Curtis!! Praying!!